Learn all about Netherland Dwarf Rabbits and
their care, including problems. Find links to Netherland rabbits for sale,
breeders and care guidelines. Netherland Dwarf care is applicable equally to
the care of other dwarf rabbit breeds.
While Holland is the true home of the Netherland Dwarf, nevertheless the Hermelin rabbit, a red-eyed white rabbit originally known in Germany as the Polish rabbit, is the major foundation stock for today’s Netherland Dwarf. Hermelins were recognized in Holland only in 1907.
A dedicated core of five Dutchmen, led by Mr. Jan Meyering, worked tirelessly for 30 years breeding the all-white Hermelins with local native wild rabbits, as well as with various other domestic breeds (large and small). The goal was to standardize a very small rabbit that would be available and accepted in a plethora of colors and varieties. Netherland Dwarfs were officially recognized in Holland in 1940, just days before Germany crashed their party and occupied Holland.
Just 17 Netherland Dwarfs survived World War II. In 1947, several English breeders were gifted with 9 offspring: 1 agouti, 2 black, 2 blue, 1 sable, 1 blue-eyed white, and 2 red-eyed-white.
In only 3 years, the British Rabbit Council recognized the new breed. Netherland Dwarfs flew out of British hutches to meet the intense demand for these tiny yet bold little rabbits.
Netherland Dwarfs in the USA
It was not until
1965 that the Netherland Dwarf arrived in the USA. The purpose for the original
imports was to improve the Polish rabbit breed in the US. The same fascination
with Netherlands soon began to consume Americans. The ARBA recognized the
Netherland Dwarf in 1969.
Netherland Dwarfs Today
Today the Netherland Dwarf is the Number One most popular rabbit breed across the globe. The breed is recognized in every country that has a national rabbit club. In the United States, they are recognized in 37 varieties, with 3 more varieties under consideration.
The UK recognizes
all these varieties. Plus, under ‘Other Varieties’ (Group 5), the BRC allows
"Any Other Color...so long as it conforms to the normal pattern of
accepted colours of other breeds." In the UK, the Netherland Dwarf is
showable in virtually any already accepted color.
Netherlands ideally weigh 2 pounds (0.907 kg), but may weigh up to 2 1/2 pounds (1.134 kg).
Ears are short, perky and substantial. They should
ideally measure 2 inches long (50 mm), but may be up to 2 1/2 inches in length
(75 mm). Ears over 2 1/2 inches long results in a disqualification.
General type is short, round and compact. Shoulders and hindquarters should be the same width, with height balanced with width. "Narrow" should never come to mind when considering any aspect of a Netherland Dwarf.
Dwarfs are judged in a natural pose, without pushing the head to the table. The many varieties are grouped into 5 categories. They first compete within the group, then against the other groups, and finally a Best of Breed and Runner-up is chosen. Here are those groups in the USA (grouped similarly in the UK):
Group 1 - Self
Group 2 - Shaded
Group 3 - Agoutis
Group 4 - Tan Patterns
Group 5 - Any Other Varieties
New varieties of Netherland Dwarfs under development in the US
Here is a summary of new variety info provided by the American
Netherland Dwarf Rabbit Club.
The blue tortoiseshell is a fawn rabbit with smoky blue on
the sides, rump, belly, ears, feet, and tail. Blue tortoiseshells passed their second try at a third showing at the 2011 ARBA
This is a black rabbit that is silvered very similarly to the Champagne d'Argent. The adult Champagne Netherland Dwarf won’t look black. It should have a “light silvery appearance with a bluish undercolor showing through the silver.” Champagnes are eligible for a second try at a first showing at the 2013 ARBA Convention.
Netherland Dwarfs and the Dwarf Gene
A true Netherland Dwarf carries one copy of the lethal
dwarfing gene, and one copy of a normal size gene. For more information, please
Netherland Dwarfs and related breeds occasionally occasionally experience these problems in their offspring, in addition to the lethal double dwarf gene pairing: Hippo babies, Max Factor defect, and faders. Plus, learn about "BUDs" and "BUBs."
Netherland Dwarfs for Sale
Netherland Dwarfs are delightful little rabbits, well suited as pets.
We have several breeders listed by state who raise and may
have Netherland Dwarf rabbits for sale. Check our Rabbits
for Sale section. Or, you may find breeders listed at the
Netherland Dwarf Club, the ARBA,
or at the BRC.
Care of Netherland Dwarfs
Rabbits are rabbits, whether they weigh 2 pounds or 22 pounds. However, with Netherland Dwarfs being so small, you might like to know the best cage sizes or any special tips or tricks to taking care of these tiny, delightful rabbits.
We've provided this information at Care of Netherland Dwarf Rabbits.
Do you have a great story or experience with this breed of rabbits? Feel free to share it!
And while you're at it, you can include up to four photos.
Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...
The Great Chase
One week my family and I were up north, and I put my rabbit back in his cage around 11:30 PM. The next morning my father woke up and saw this little, black …
I Love Nethies! Not rated yet
Right now, I own five Netherland dwarfs. They are an adorable breed, AND tons of fun. I breed them and show them at my county fair. Meet them!
My Little Sadie Not rated yet
This is my rabbit's breed! I've been searching the Internet for so long wondering about my bunny's breed because I bought her from a pet store and they …
4-H Not rated yet
I have Netherlands for my fair and my black otter buck has always gotten blue! Now I have a black otter doe to breed to him, plus a fawn buck and doe. …
Amazing Netherland Dwarfs Not rated yet
These rabbits are absolutely amazing! I find that the female Netherland Dwarfs tend to be a little temperamental but are still sweet if worked with and …